Henrico Bar News
February 2014
Henrico County Bar Association
P.O. Box 70147
Richmond, Virginia 23255

From the Desk of Jon A. Nichols, HCBA President


I don't know about you, but I sure am tired of all the snow and cold! 

It had its charm during December when we hosted our annual Henrico County Bar Association Holiday Party at Willow Oaks Country Club. The Holiday Party continues to be one of the premier social events for our organization, and we had a wonderful turnout this year.  I am very appreciative of Marty Conn's efforts to make the event such a success.

The snow in January didn't keep more than 100 of our members from coming out to the Board of Supervisors' Board Room to hear from our judges at the Bench-Bar Conference. It is always a challenge to ensure that the presentations have something that is helpful to the diverse civil, criminal and domestic practices of our members, but Tom Tokarz did a lot of work to deliver such a program.

I hope the cold weather will be a distant memory when our spring slate of events starts with our Spring Luncheon on March 21. What says spring more than baseball?  We hope you will come hear Richmond Flying Squirrels Vice President and COO Todd "Parney" Parnell speak at the Westwood Club.  After that, don't forget about our Legislative Update (April 10, Westwood Club), Annual Banquet (May 6, Jepson Center at U of R), and the John Garrett Memorial Golf Tournament (May 29, The Crossings).

We thank you for the continued support of our organization and look forward to seeing you this spring, without your scarf, gloves and overcoat!



Jon A. Nichols



Annual Holiday Party

This year's annual HCBA Holiday Party was among the most successful and entertaining.  Nearly 100 Henrico County attorneys and judges and their families assembled at Willow Oaks Country Club on December 10 for a relaxing evening to cap off 2013.  This year's edition of the Holiday Party had great energy, in part due to the groovy sounds of the Flying Sulsers bringing a jazzy rhythm to many holiday classics.  The HCBA is grateful to the event's sponsors, Bizport and Planet Depos, whose support helped make the party a success.  Most importantly, thanks to all the members for a great year and for coming out for a great night of fun and entertainment.
Jon Nichols, Brooks Hundley and Ben Spence
Natalie McClearn, Nancy Cook, Julia Adair and Suzanne Wade

Matt Nelson, Judge Yoffy, Mike Gerrard,

Mike Huberman and Sydney Robinson

Stan Wellman, Elliott Buckner, John Merrick and John Claytor
Elaine Yeatts, Valerie L'Herrou and Judge Yeatts
Rob Friedman, Scott Fisher and Lisa Leiner
Paula Bernstein Hough, Greg Hough and Raul Novo
Tony Pham and Tom Tokarz
Bench-Bar CLE

The Henrico County Bar Association held its annual Bench-Bar Conference on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 in the Board of Supervisors' Board Room at the Henrico Government Center.  Approximately 100 of our members, as well as Judges Catherine C. Hammond and L. A. Harris, Jr., attended this two-part program, which addressed issues of interest to all three of the primary practice areas of our membership: civil, criminal and juvenile & domestic relations. 
The first presentation was a panel discussion moderated by Marissa Mitchell, Immediate Past-President, and included Judge Richard S. Wallerstein, Jr. of the Circuit Court, Judge G. Barton Chucker of the General District Court, and Judges Randall G. Johnson, Jr. and Rondelle D. Herman of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.  Each judge shared observations from the bench, stressing the importance of being on time, being prepared, and conducting yourself as a professional at all times.

The second part of the program featured United States District Court Judge John A. Gibney, Jr.  Judge Gibney's presentation was a wonderful blend of information and humor, as he helped unravel the procedural mysteries of federal court practice.  He also emphasized the importance of demonstrating professionalism and being fair to your adversary.

The Henrico County Bar Association would like to thank Judges Wallerstein, Chucker, Johnson, Herman, Gibney, Harris and Hammond for helping to make this event a great success. 

Judge Herman, Judge Johnson, Judge Chucker,

Judge Wallerstein and Marissa Mitchell

Judge Gibney

Member Spotlight


Full Name: Mike Gill


Employer and Position: United States Attorney's Office, AUSA


College: Texas Christian University


Law School: University of Virginia


Years in Practice: 17


Hobbies and Interests: Fly fishing, woodworking, history, and my family.


Favorite Movie: Saving Private Ryan


Favorite Book: Seabiscuit: An American Legend


Favorite Pro and College Sports Team: Dallas Cowboys and the TCU Fighting Horned Frogs!


One Thing You Might Not Know About Me: I'm a 5th generation cattle rancher who grew up in Miami, Texas - a town of 600 where the cattle outnumber the people 100 to 1.     


Best Thing About Practicing Law in Henrico: Friendly and talented defense bar I can trust.


Funniest Experience as an Attorney: A Korean minister testified on direct he was 80% sure that the defendant was the one who stole his money. The defense lawyer stood up and had his client come up to the podium to prove the point about a height discrepancy between her actual height and what the witness told the agents. The lawyer snidely asked if the minister could tell the difference between 5'6" and 5'1". The minister's response was "100%." The lawyer asked, so you can tell the difference? The minister said, "No, but I'm 100% certain she is the one after seeing her stand right next to you."


Advice to Young Attorneys: Always take the high road - your reputation and integrity are the most important parts of your practice.




Full Name: Natalie Taylor McClearn


Employer and Position: Associate at Family Law Associates of Richmond


College: Furman University


Law School: University of Richmond


Years in Practice: 1


Hobbies and Interests: Swimming, hanging out with friends and family, traveling, cake


Favorite Movie: Empire Records


Favorite Book:  The Poisonwood Bible


Favorite Pro and College Sports Team:  Ballstars! Our kickball team is the only sports team I follow.


One Thing You Might Not Know About Me: Before law school, I lived with families in Senegal and Ghana for six months while volunteering as an English teacher and human rights advocate. It was a meaningful and enlightening experience from which I have some of my fondest memories.


Best Thing About Practicing Law in Henrico: The significant involvement of attorneys in the Henrico Bar and that the attorneys and judges enjoy each other's company.


Funniest Experience as an Attorney:  A bailiff once stopped me from entering the courtroom because she thought I was not old enough to testify as a witness for one of the parties. She did not realize I was the attorney.


Advice to Young Attorneys:    Become involved with the local bar associations. Getting to know other attorneys helps maintain and build upon the collegial environment of the bar, which makes the practice of law so much more enjoyable.



Save the Date
Annual Spring Luncheon
Friday, March 21, 2014
12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Westwood Club
Legislative Update
Thursday, April 10, 2014
4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Westwood Club
Annual Spring Banquet
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Jepson Alumni Center
University of Richmond
John Garrett Memorial Golf Tournament benefiting Comfort Zone Camp
Thursday, May 29, 2014
1:00 p.m. Shotgun
The Crossings Golf Club
In This Issue
Annual Holiday Party
Bench-Bar CLE
Member Spotlight
John A. Garrett Memorial Golf Tournament
Clerk's Corner
Members on the Move



Remembering Judge

John A. Garrett


Each year, the Bar Association takes time to remember the late Honorable John A. Garrett, a judge of the Henrico County General District Court, who we lost in December of 2004. Our members should look to the memory of Judge Garrett as an example for their own practice. His career was a model of how to conduct oneself with professionalism and compassion in the practice of law.

Judge Garrett attended Virginia Military Institute, where he played rugby and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. He graduated from VMI in 1978 and went on to earn his juris doctor from the T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond in 1981. Perhaps even more impressive, during this time he also served as a lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve up through to his honorable discharge in 1996.

Judge Garrett served as Commonwealth's Attorney to Louisa County before coming to Henrico as a Deputy Commonwealth Attorney in 1994. He served in that position until he was appointed to the bench in 2002. On the bench, Judge Garrett had a reputation for patience, fairness and respect for all those who appeared before him. Despite being diagnosed with a serious illness, he bravely continued to serve the citizens of Henrico until his passing in 2004.

Each year, our Bar Association sponsors a charity golf tournament for our members in Judge Garrett's memory. All proceeds go to the Comfort Zone Camp, a charity selected by Judge Garrett's wife Lynn. It is an organization that provided support to the Garrett children during such a difficult time. This year, the golf tournament will be held on May 29, 2014 at The Crossings Golf Club. We hope that you will join us for a wonderful remembrance of Judge Garrett and support this worthy cause.


The Hon. John A. Garrett


Clerk's Corner   



Effective January 1, 2014, the Henrico Circuit Court Clerk's Office began to maintain its criminal and civil cases in digital format, rather than paper.  All cases will continue to be filed in paper format and will then be digitized.


We will be offering yearly subscriptions for attorneys to the Officer of the Court Remote Access (OCRA) system. This system will offer remote access to the electronic criminal and civil case files via a secure connection to the Case Imaging System. The subscription will be limited to members in good standing of the Virginia State Bar and their staff members.


Once the OCRA system is available, there will be more information and a notice about cost and a link on the home page of our website to the application/subscription form.




Watch for more information.



Members on the Move   


Harman Claytor Corrigan & Wellman is pleased to announce that Lester C. Brock has been named a partner.  Brock concentrates his practice in construction, premises and products liability litigation.


Melissa VanZile has joined the law firm of Barnes and Diehl, P.C. as an associate.  She will concentrate her practice in family law.


If you have recently changed jobs or been promoted, please share the move with the Henrico Bar.  We would like to post your announcement in our newsletter and update your member profile.  Announcements can be emailed to Mary Lou Wellman at admin@henricobar.org.  Please include your name, firm or company's name, new title and areas of concentration.  



Welcome New Members
Julia Adair
Lloyd B. Childress
Bryan A. Dunkum
Bryan C. Dunkum
Michael Gill
Kathryn D. Jones
Brice Lambert
Justin A. Ritter
Susan K. Stoneman
Thomas Stark, IV


Officers and Directors



Jon A. Nichols



Carl R. Schwertz


Vice President

Michael Y. Feinmel



Tony H. Pham



J. T. (Tom) Tokarz


Immediate Past-President

Marissa D. Mitchell



Angela Boice Axelle

Martin A. Conn

D. Brooks Hundley

Julie S. Palmer

Suzanne E. Wade


Mary Lou Wellman